Beware of fraudulent communicationsPosted: May 23, 2012
No one is safe from fraud, it seems. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning Canadians is be careful of emails, voice mails, even mail claiming to be from the CRA. These sophisticated and very believable "phishingî expeditions are after your personal information. It pays to be vigilant.
So, what should you be watching for? Invariably, says the CRA, these communications claim to be offering a refund or a benefit payment. To get your cash, however, you need to identify yourself by giving your social insurance number (SIN) and provide credit card, bank account and passport numbers. The fraudsters seem to be well aware that when offered money ó especially from the CRA ó Canadians let down their guard.
Another scam claims to be investigating accusations of tax evasion. Playing off taxpayers' fear of the CRA, an official-looking communication asks the recipient to go to the website via the provided link for more information. To "check in,î the recipient is asked personal information. (For examples of fraudulent communications, click here.)
The CRA suggests that, when faced with any communication claiming to be from the CRA, you ask yourself the following questions:
ï Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
ï Does this sound too good to be true?
ï Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
ï Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
ï How did the requester get my email address?
ï Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
If you wish to verify the authenticity of a telephone number left on your voicemail, contact the CRA by using the telephone numbers listed on the CRA website. For business-related calls, contact 1-800-959-5525 and for individual concerns, contact 1-800-959-8281.